Two Pom-Poms And A Perpetual Calendar

This morning I printed a set of photographs of his work last Sunday for Aaron.

Jackie liked this one so much that I produced one for her. It shows Aaron’s careful sensitivity in showing his nephew his craft.

Afterwards I photographed those items I missed yesterday of which Jackie is justifiably proud.

This is an hydrangea picked up for a song in Lidl when the heatwave raged. She has kept it well watered in a pot.

These heucheras have all been taken from cuttings and await their permanent positions next year.

More gladioli and dahlias thrive in the New Bed.

The Head Gardener has raised six pots of chillies from seed. Demon Reds are now appearing.

This afternoon Jackie and I drove to Upper Dicker to attend Poppy and Becky’s joint birthday party. Also present were, of course, Mat, Tess, Ian, and Becky’s friends Miche and Louis. We enjoyed fresh bread, sausage, paté, dips, cheese, chicken, sausage rolls, and, naturally, a superb cake crafted by Tess. Beers, wines, and soft drinks were available.

Here, Becky, sporting sunnies and two pom-poms given to her by Poppy, demonstrates her ecstatic delight at the perpetual calendar Jackie and I gave her.

We needed no further sustenance on our return home.

Spring Cleaning Month

Yesterday evening I received an e-mail from Mark telling me that it had taken all day to clear the cellar in Sigoules, and the job was still not finished. It will be continued next week. I didn’t think of this space when I checked the house, because I have to bend double to enter it and consequently am not in the habit of going down there. Much needed rain in the form of a heavy thunderstorm arrived this morning, giving me a watertight excuse for taking a break from digging up concrete. I stayed in and identified and scanned a batch of colour negatives from May 1982. These feature Jessica and Sam at a toddlers’ morning at Brixton Sports Hall, where it was great fun leaping off the gym horse onto the mattresses and trampoline; Jessica and Sam 5.82 001Sam 5.82 001Sam 5.82 002                                                                                                              and cleaning up a pram for Sam’s new sister, Louisa.Jessica and Sam 5.82 002Jessica and Sam 5.82 004Sam 5.82 003 These photographs were taken in the garden of Gracedale Road in Furzedown, where we lived at the time.
Matthew 5.71 001Matthew 5.71 002May is clearly the month for spring cleaning, for, exactly eleven years earlier, Matthew had given the Amity Grove garden paving a good scrub.
Jackie with bonfires 2Jackie with bonfires 1Encouraged by the warm, dry, day that followed this morning’s downpour, and by Bev and John being away, I attempted to light a bonfire in mid-afternoon. After three quarters of an hour of profuse smoke and no flame, I was about to give up when I heard a faint, quickening crackling, followed by at first a glimmer, then a burst of flame. We had lift off. Jackie had continued her preparation for spring by completing the setting of hundreds of bulbs and various other plants, and, in the early evening she decided to make her own bonfire. Having been a Girl Guide, she produced flame in fast time and we soon had two pyres on the go. Thus we were able to make impressive progress in clearing the piles of debris. Observant readers will notice that the wheelbarrow brazier has lost one of its handles.
Dinner this evening consisted of chicken breasts marinaded in piri-piri sauce, crisp roast potatoes, and carrots and cauliflower, followed by egg custard. Should you be tempted to repeat this menu, you should heed a word of warning about the sauce. Dilita’s Afrikana Peri-Peri Wild Herb Sauce is not for those without an asbestos coating to their mouths. Do not be deceived by the single chilli image on the jar. No way is this mild. Even I took in a deep breath after the first mouthful. Apparently Dilita make one sauce which has three chillies on the jar and is described as hot. The medium one sports two chillies.
We both drank Pedro Jimenez Cimarosa 2013, which helped to cool us down a bit.

A Friend Of Sir Edwin

A clear nattier blue sky beamed down on us this morning.  Dew on our lawn glittered, and, as Jackie drove us to Pennington, the sun’s shafts radiated on the road ahead.  It was a marvellous day on which to explore yet another beautiful corner of our chosen area, and the outside of a house situated there.

Middle Common Lane

Middle Common Lane belongs in a picture book, and King’s Huts in an architectural history.

King's Huts archThe so-called huts are a horseshoe-shaped group of three pairs of semi-detatched Edwardian Estate cottages set in mature gardens with plenty of space between them.  The original gate leading to a brick path taking you to the individual houses has recently been renewed.

It is number 1 that is for sale.  Just outside is a makeshift notice pleading for careful driving because a deaf cat crosses the road.  The house itself is so well secluded, that it is impossible to see it all from the roadside.1 King's Huts through hedge 1 King's Huts over back gate Peering through the hedgerow or over the back gate shows you nothing.  The estate agent produced a clear enough set of photographs from inside, and one of the other houses was more clearly visible from inside the general gate. 1 King's Huts garage and workshop Much of the garden has been given over to a garage and workshop, and an attractive summer house, thus increasing the amount of accommodation provided.  There is, however, plenty more to cultivate and enjoy, as can be glimpsed over the side gate.1 King's Huts garden

The houses were built in 1908 for Mrs Powell King of Wainsford.  They were clearly influenced by her friend Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens,  arguably the greatest ever British architect,1 King's Huts roof who left his mark all over the world, and particularly in New Delhi.  His essential contribution was the imaginative adaptation of traditional styles to the requirements of his era.  It looks to me as if King’s Huts owed something to his earlier, Arts and Crafts, period.

Our return to Minstead was greeted by grunting Gloucester Old Spots outside the Hall. Gloucester Old SpotThe most vociferous was doing its best to dislodge parasites from its coat.  Maybe this is why wooden posts protecting vulnerably placed buildings from intrusive motor cars are occasionally in need of replacement.


ChilliesThe midday sun enhanced the glorious geraniums Jackie potted up in the spring, placed in the communal hall, and has nurtured ever since.  She also wishes Helen to know that the chillies she grew from seed given her by her sister have borne fruit.

The weather was unchanged when, this afternoon, I walked to the Lyndhurst surgery for a check on the last wart procedure.  This meant retracing the morning’s drive as far as Swan Green where I turned left.

As I kept a close eye on the pony chomping on the left of the narrow lane leading to ‘The Splash’, I narrowly avoided ruffling the rump of another directly in front of me.  If ponies made half enough noise at the trough as the pigs, this would not have happened.

The lesion hasn’t quite disappeared from my left shoulder, so another bout of freezing was required.  Prof Lyon-Maris had a student with him.  She was permitted to administer the flu jab which was inflicted on me whilst they were at it.

Jackie met me outside the practice, and drove me to Elizabeth’s, from where Danni ferried us all to Eastern Nights and we enjoyed the usual excellent meal with Bangla, Cobra, and white wine.

We diverted to Sainsbury’s Homebase in Hedge End to buy an oil-filled radiator, since one of the electric heaters installed in our vast sitting room is not working, and we are tired of holding our breath waiting for Tracy, the estate agent’s representative, to get anything done about it.

From The Firs Jackie drove me back home.